February 8, 2010
The Endeavour shuttle blasted off yesterday affording astronauts a 360° view around the International Space Station. While tour operators don’t offer trips to the moon (yet), we spoke to some AITO members that offer the best observation decks and amazing 360° vistas around the world, here are their selections.
GRAND CANYON SKYWALK – £1,895pp + £695 flights for 15 day Rockies/Grand Canyon tour
Small group hiking around the Grand Canyon and camping in the depths of this awe-inspiring gorge. This tour covers hikes in Yellowstone national parks, to wilderness lakes and world-famous geysers and in the Rocky Mountains, as well as camping out with the Navajo in Monument Valley. Price includes accommodation. Call AITO member KE Adventure Travel on 017687 73966 (www.keadventure.com)
DACHSTEIN SKY WALK- £745 for 12 day self-guided Dachstein Hiking tour excluding flights
This hiking tour takes in dozens of Alpine peaks over 2,500 metres and alternates lakeside town hotels with nights spent high in the mountains in comfortable Alpine lodges. Visit this spectacular viewing platform, made partly from glass, with amazing views from its 2,700 metre breathtaking outlook. Tours run daily from July-September with AITO member Walks Worldwide on 0845 3014737. Price includes B&B accommodation, boat and cable car costs, maps and route notes. Minimum 2 people. www.walksworldwide.com.
AUCKLAND’S 328-METRE SKY TOWER – 21 day New Zealand trip excluding flights for £982pp
Buy a 21-day ‘off-season’ self-drive ‘Pure and Simple’ holiday to New Zealand for £982 pp (excluding flights). Take in the view from the glass-floored viewing platform, on a comprehensive visit around the stunning North and South Islands. The trip includes the beaches of the north, the thermal area of Rotorua, the rugged west coast, the Southern Lakes and Alps. Price includes accommodation and car hire. Valid from April to October with AITO member Discover the World on 01737 218800. (www.discover-the-world.co.uk)
MOUNT RORAIMA, VENEZUELA – 16 nights from £3,840 including flights
See this 2,810-metre mountain with a 31-km summit area on the Gran Sabana leg of the 16 night ‘Highlights of Venezuela’ tour. Exploring one of Venezuela’s most unusual and surreal regions, you can look down over the 55-metre high free-falling falls at Salto Kama Meru, travel by canoe to the 110-km high Chinak Meru falls and visit viewpoints for Mount Roraima, Venezuela’s most famous ‘tepuy’ which inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, ‘The Lost World’. Call AITO member Sunvil Traveller – Real Latin America on 0208 758 4774 (www.sunvil.co.uk)
AURLAND LOOKOUT, NORWAY – £2,175pp including flights for 12 night self-drive tour
The 14-night ‘Best of the Fjords’ self-drive holiday gives a wonderful taste of Norway’s’ spectacular fjords, glaciers and mountain scenery. It also features some of Norway’s finest hotels. Don’t miss a drive on your journey between Lofthus and Balestrand up to the stunning Aurland lookout perched 2,000 ft above the fjords. Departures from 15 May – 15 Sept with AITO member Specialised Tours on 01342 712785. Price includes flights, accommodation and car hire. (www.specialisedtours.com)
ANCIENT MACHU PICCHU, PERU – £3,264 including flights for 14 nights
The 14-night Chasqui Tour combines the colonial city of Arequipa, crossing dizzyingly high passes to enter Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and a train ride to Cusco. A highlight of the tour is the trek along the Inca Trail to ancient Machu Picchu. Price includes tour guide, flights and accommodation. 0208 762 0616. www.veloso.com.
IGUAZU FALLS – £1788 pp for 7 nights including flights on Golondrina Getaway Journey
New for 2010 is the 7-night trip to Brazil and Argentina offering the chance to wander the walkways among the thundering Iguazú Falls, gaze down on Rio from the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop the Corcovado mountain, take the cable car up Sugarloaf mountain and explore Buenos Aires. Price from £1,728 pp includes ex-UK and local flights and seven night’s B&B accommodation. Call AITO member Journey Latin America on 0208 747 8315. (www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk)
TABLE MOUNTAIN, CAPE TOWN – from £600 excluding flights for a week
If you’re after one of the most stunning views in Africa, look no further than the city of Cape Town. Take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, taking in a 360 degree view of the city or climb up by foot. Wake up surrounded by stunning views from a choice of boutique hotels, villas and apartments situated on its slopes. Prices from £600 for a week, excluding flights. Call AITO member Fleewinter on 0207 112 0019 (www.fleewinter.co.uk)
TREKS AND TREASURES, IRAN – £1,640 pp + £400 flight for 14 day tour
This tour combines a 7-8 day trek reaching a highpoint of 3300m in the Zagros mountains, with visits to Shiraz, Isfahan, Persepolis and other sights of old Persia. The trek includes meeting the nomadic people of the Qashqai tribes, visiting picturesque settlements and passing close to the Dena peak, one of the highest in the Zagros range. Call AITO member High Places on 0845 257 7500. (www.highplaces.co.uk)
THE ICONIC MOUNT FUJI – £1,970 for 14 nights excluding flights
The 14 night ‘Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and the Japanese Alps’ tour moves from buzzing Tokyo to Kawaguchiko, one of the scenic Fuji Five Lakes and from where, in summer, you can arrange a day climb up the 3776m high dormant volcano. Continuing to Kyoto via Matsumoto, there is a breathtaking drive along dramatic gorges to Kamikochi and a visit to the historic town of Takayama. Call AITO member Inside Japan on 0117 314 4620. (www.insidejapantours.com)